A cat gives a home warmth and happiness ...

MollySome people are instinctively dog people and others are naturally cat people. It’s just something within us, and it’s quite rare to find someone who is both or neither.

I myself have always been a cat person. It’s not something I decided on, it’s just there. I think it came from my parents who have always been pro-cat and anti-dog, especially my mum.

The first cats I remember as a child were tabby Thomas and all-white Henry. I don’t recall too much else about them as I was very young, but I do remember sneaking downstairs in the mornings to play with them before other people got up.

Sadly, I had a bad cat allergy as a child, which caused my nose to run and eyes to stream, so these cats were rehomed. I don’t think one of them using an expensive new rug of my mum’s as a toilet helped their cause either.

Later on, we got several more cats. I don’t think my mum could bear being cat-free for ever more, and my allergy got better as I got older.

MollyWe had big boss tomcat the tabby Sammy and scatty farm cat George who used to get very stressed about everything and would periodically go bald in big patches. We also got a very cute girl cat called Rosie as a kitten and she went on to have kittens herself, one of whom we kept, and my sister called Jason. His nickname became JJ, and later he was known as Black Thing owing to him being so black and fluffy that you could hardly see his features and also him being one of the most ferocious cats I’ve ever known. If ever a cat had anger issues, it was this one – Jackson Galaxy would have had a challenge trying to sort Black Thing out.

We also gave a home and our love to a girl called Sophie who was a year or two old when she came to us after a very bad start in life in which she had been mistreated by previous owners. She had all sorts of problems with her hygiene, personality etc and was very troubled. She particularly warmed to me though and over time she settled in and got better, though by the time she succumbed to illness a few years later she could still turn on you at the flip of a switch.

In 1997 I moved out of my parents’ home and set up on my own. I tried to get by without a cat but couldn’t do it. A home just isn’t complete without a cat to welcome you in after a day at work, wake you up in the mornings or sit on your lap for a cuddle as they purr away. A cat gives a home warmth and happiness.

So, I got myself a kitten who I called Tiggy. Unfortunately, she went on to have a short but eventful little life with me. I came home one evening just before Christmas and could see that she was injured from the hunched way she was sitting. When I checked her over it looked like someone had unzipped her tummy, as she had a big red gash from one end of it to the other. Somehow, I managed to find an emergency vet who stitched her back up and she was fine, though I never did discover what Tiggy had done to hurt herself like that. I wouldn’t have her for much longer as she was hit by a car and killed just a couple of months later.

MoggyThis hit me hard and I struggled to carry on without a cat, but a few months later I was offered a nine-month-old boy kitten whose owners were splitting up and neither could keep him. This cat, who was all white apart from a tabby tale and tabby patch on his head, I named Moggy (inventive, I know) and he went on to be the greatest cat I’ve ever had.

Moggy was with me through so many big life events, from moving house several times, to my fiancée moving in, to getting married, to bringing a baby into the home. Throughout years of ups and downs, he was a constant source of comfort and companionship. It’s no stretch to say he was a friend, and later a family member.

Moggy himself gave us many fun memories. One time he broke his leg thanks to over-ambitiously jumping from a height. When we got him back from the vet, he managed to escape from his wicker cat basket before we got him indoors, but he’d forgotten about having had his leg strapped up. So, there was then the hilarious sight of him running around in circles outside trying to manage on three legs for the first time.

When I finally caught him and got him indoors, he clearly didn’t like having his leg bandaged up. He kept picking at and eventually got the bandage off later that day. He had to be taken back to the vet and got a tougher, tighter bandage – but this one he got off again even before leaving the clinic to come home! The vet didn’t try a third time.

MoggyMoggy hated the vacuum cleaner, absolutely hated it. The hoover terrified him. So, it’s possibly not surprising that on another separate occasion I got a knock at the door from my downstairs neighbour to say she had seen a flash of white come past her window and wondered where Moggy was. It turned out he’d jumped from my first-floor window just to escape the vacuum noise. Fortunately, he didn’t hurt himself this time.

Time allowing, I’ll write again some other time to tell you more about Moggy, what happened to him, the friend we got for him and the several cats I’ve had since him.

Simon Bull is the editor of the weekly newspaper, the Newsshopper.

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